Section 4: Reading Material

The following list contains books which are representative of both Jewish and non-Jewish traditions. There are books which are utterly fanciful or derivative which have not been included.

Many books have not been included simply because no one has suggested that they should. If you feel strongly that a book should be included in this list then mail its details and some (relatively) factual comments on its contents to I'd like to thank the following for their contributions:

  • Le Grand Cinq Mars
  • Greg Burton
Bar Zadok, R. Ariel, "Yikrah B'Shmi (Call Upon My Name)", Yeshivat Benei N'vi'im,1992
Merkabah practices
Bischoff, Erich, "Kabbala", Weiser
An interesting and generally well-informed little book written as an extended FAQ. Refers only to traditional Jewish material. Originally published in German c. 1910
Brown, Francis, "The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon", Hendrickson 1979
The last word in Biblical Hebrew. Amaze and astound your friends with each and every usage of every word in the Bible. Hold an audience entranced with your knowledge of Arabic, Aramaic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, and Greek referents
Crowley, Aleister, "777", Metaphysical Research Group 1977
Tables of Kabbalistic correspondences, some from the Golden Dawn, some from Crowley, many traditional
Epstein, Perle, "Kabbalah", Shambhala 1978
Information on traditional Jewish Kabbalah by a student of Aryeh Kaplan. It contains many biographical details, and useful information on practical techniques.
Fortune, Dion, "The Mystical Qabalah", Ernest Benn Ltd, 1979
One of the first books to relate the Sephirothic Tree to everyday experience, and for this reason a useful beginners' book. It contains many digressions on matters circa 1930 which now appear extremely dated. Dion Fortune was strongly influenced by Theosophy and Esoteric Christianity as well as Kabbalah, and it shows.
Gikatilla, R. Joseph, "Sha'are Orah", Harper Collins, 1994
The Gates of Light by Joseph of Castille is one of the great expositions of Kabbalah, written in the thirteenth century by a pupil of Abraham Abulafia. Because of its early translation into Latin it is also one of a small number of texts to exert a strong influence on Christian Kabbalah. It provides an exposition on the divine names through the 10 sephiroth and is exceedingly heavy going. This translation lacks a commentary.
haLevi, Ze'v ben Shimon, "Kabbalah & Exodus", "Work of the Kabbalist", "School of Kabbalah",Weiser ???
Good non-technical material - though he has an aversion to magick. A sort of inbetweener - Wesoteric and Jewish. Very practical material for the sincere beginner.
Locks, Gutman G., "Gematria, Spice of Torah",Judaica Press,??
Gematria values for the Torah - the real thing
Idel, Moshe, "Kabbalah: New Directions", Yale University Press 1988
Outstanding scholarship - a MUST read for theoretical background, and to put Scholem into perspective.
Idel, Moshe, "Ecstatic Kabbalah", Yale, ???
Outstanding scholarship - a MUST read for understanding the work of Abraham Abulafia.
Jacobs, Louis, "The Jewish Mystics", Kyle Cathie Ltd. 1990 (also published in the US as "Jewish Mystical Testimonies"
A fascinating compilation of texts spanning the history of Kabbalah from the earliest times, an eclectic mixture which includes extracts from the Talmud and Zohar, letters, personal diaries, legend, short lectures, visions, mystical experiences etc.
Kaplan, Aryeh, "The Bahir Illumination", Weiser 1989
A key Kabbalistic source text with an extensive and informed commentary by Kaplan
Kaplan, Aryeh, "Meditation and Kabbalah", Weiser 1992
Essential reading for the experienced Kabbalist. Not an introductory text. Many biographical and historical details worth reading for their own sake.
Kaplan, Aryeh, "The Sepher Yetzirah", Weiser 1991
A key Kabbalistic source text with an extensive and informed commentary by Kaplan.
Kaplan, Aryeh, "The Living Torah", Moznaim 1981
A key Kabbalistic source text with an informed commentary by Kaplan. Contains both Kaplan's translation and the Hebrew source text of the five books of Moses.
Kaplan, R. Aryeh, "Innerspace", Moznaim, 4304 12th Ave. Brooklyn, NY.11219 1-800-364-5118
Superb Introduction
Kaplan, R. Aryeh, "Jewish Meditation", Weiser ???
Introductory practices - can be used before "Meditation and Kabbalah" or "Meditation and the Bible".
Knight, Gareth, "A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism", Vols 1 & 2, Helios 1972
Volume 1 provides an introduction to the Tree of Life and the sephiroth, and follows the correspondences of the Golden Dawn and Dion Fortune. Volume 2 covers the paths on the Tree, draws on the same basic correspondences, but contains more personal meditational material. At the level of a personal commentary it provides many insights into the G.D. correspondences.
Levi, Eliphas, "Transcendental Magic", Rider, 1969
A key text by an important and influential magician. Levi's factual information should not be taken at face value
Mathers, S. L., "The Kabbalah Unveiled", Routledge & Kegan Paul 1981
A translation of a translation of three texts from the "Zohar", with an introduction by both Moina and Samuel Liddel Mathers, which is interesting not only for what it says about Kabbalah but also as a source of insight into two key members of the Order of the Golden Dawn.
Mathers, S. L., "The Key of Solomon the King", Routledge & Kegan Paul
Classic magical grimoire with a Kabbalistic flavour.
Mathers, S. L., "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage", Dover 1975
The authenticity of this text has been questioned, but its influence on 20th. century magic and practical Kabbalah cannot be. It may be based on an authentic technique for acquiring a "Maggid" or angelic teacher, something widely employed by Jewish Kabbalists in the past.
Ponce, Charles, "Kabbalah", Garnstone Press, 1974
A straightforward and not too fanciful introduction to Kabbalah with a Jewish flavour. A good all-round introduction.
Regardie, I., "The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic", Falcon Press 1984
Essential reading for anyone interested in the development of non- Jewish, "Hermetic" Kabbalah this century.
Schachter, R. Zalman, "Fragments of a Future Scroll" (out of print)
Introduction to Jewish Renewal, which includes a great deal of kabbalistic underpinning.
Scheinkin, David, "Path of Kabbalah", Shambala ???
Excellent introduction by another student of Kaplan's. A great one to read first
Scholem, Gershom G. "Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism", Schoken Books 1974
This is the seminal work by the founder of 20th. century Kabbalah scholarship. Scholem is a writer who can transform difficult topics by writing with great clarity and beauty, and his extraordinary erudition makes him essential reading for anyone with an interest in the historical basis for Kabbalah.
Scholem, Gershom G., "Origins of the Kabbalah", Princton 1990
Traces the origins of Kabbalistic thought through the book "Bahir", the Kabbalists of Provence, and the Kabbalistic circle of Gerona. Gripping stuff for the academically and historically minded
Scholem, Gershom G. "Kabbalah", Dorset Press 1974
I believe this is a compilation of essays, combined with articles written for the Encylopedia Judaica. Good for its breadth and its biographical information. Essential reading for anyone with an interest in the historical basis for Kabbalah.
Scholem, Gershom G. "Sabbatai Tzevi, The Mystical Messiah", Princeton University Press 1973.
A massive, minutely researched book describing the lives and heresies of Sabbatai Tzevi and Nathan of Gaza. A good source of information on Nathan's unusual and highly influential version of Lurianic Kabbalah
Scholem, Gershom G. "Kabbalah and its Symbolism", Schocken 1969.
A selection of very readable essays on a wide variety of topics, including Kabbalistic ritual and the idea of the Golem
Scholem, Gershom G. "On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead", Schocken 1991
More deeply researched essays on the Kabbalah, including as topics good and evil, the Shekhinah, the transmigration of souls, and the astral body.
Simon, Maurice & Sperling, Harry, "The Zohar", Bennet 1959 (also recently reprinted by Soncino)
A translation a major part of a key Kabbalistic text. Oh, that Kaplan had lived long enough to translate The Zohar! You might be better with Tishby's superb anthology of Zohar texts and extensive commentaries
Suares, Carlos, "The Quabala Trilogy",Shambala,??
Heavy going, but it can give you a good sense of what's going on kabbalisticly in the Torah from a gematria perspective.
Tishby, Isaiah, & Lachower, Yeruham Fishel, "The Wisdom of the Zohar" Oxford University Press 1989
An anthology of texts systematically arranged and rendered into Hebrew by Fischel Lachower and Isaiah Tishby ; with extensive introductions and explanations by Isaiah Tishby; English translation by David Goldstein. An expensive three volume set which contains a definitive translation of large parts of the Zohar, the texts arranged by subject matter and greatly clarified by a voluminous commentary and extensive footnotes. An essential text.
Waite, A.E., "The Holy Kabbalah", Citadel
A large volume on Kabbalah by a key member of the Golden Dawn, greatly diminished by Waite's verbose and circumlocutious writing style. Scholem thought this book was the best example of Kabbalistic commentary in the Hermetic camp, but personally I find Arthwaite's prose style about as attractive as a patent attorney's love letters.
Zalewski, Pat, "Golden Dawn Kabbalah", Llewellyn, 1993
Very good exposition of additional Golden Dawn material, and some interesting thoughts

Section 5: Information Available on the Internet

FTP Sites: has an ftp archive on various occult and magical topics. Some material on Kabbalah can be found in
Ceci Heningsson ( has created an ftp archive of magical and occult material which is available via anonymous ftp to pub/magick on has an archive from soc.culture.jewish in pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism.
A very useful reading list for Jewish Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism can be found in
Shawn Clayton Knight's WWW page is very good and references many other WWW pages on
Usenet Newsgroups:
Useful information and discussion on Jewish sources and Judaism in general can be found in soc.culture.jewish Information and discussion on Kabbalah as a part of the framework for modern (non-Jewish) ritual or ceremonial magic can be found in alt.magick, a site which was once very active but which has become a haven for Bible-Thumping cross-posts and individuals who have opinions on every subject under the sun, and a burning desire to air them.